Our attention is drawn towards objects in the world rather than the space in which objects arise. The same is true in the mind. We notice the traffic in the mind (thoughts, emotions, sensations), rather than the road on which the traffic is moving (awareness). When we shift attention to the context in which the contents of the mind are arising we are less controlled and tyrannised by these contents.
At moments throughout the day, when you find some space for reflection, drop the following questions into the mind and see what emerges in your experience. Stay with each question for 10 seconds or longer if possible. Simply ask the question and notice what happens, as if you are conducting an experiment in your own mind. Try not to make any special effort but simply relax and observe with a sense of curiosity:
What am I aware of? (Gently survey and track the traffic moving through the mind)
What, in me, is aware? (Notice the road – the part of you that is aware of the traffic)
After you have finished you might find time to reflect on your experience through one or two of the following questions (this can be done in your mind, through journaling, with another person or in a group):
What did I notice?
Did I notice any shift occurring within me?
What did I learn?